What Does Dog Acne Look Like?

A dog’s skin is very similar to ours, so it’s no surprise that dogs can get acne too.

Acne in dogs is quite common and can be caused by several factors, including hormonal changes, allergies, and infections.

The condition can appear in several different ways:

Blackheads – blackheads are small black bumps on the skin that have a clogged pore or follicle at their base. They often occur on the nose and chin.

Whiteheads – whiteheads are similar to blackheads but without any discoloration. Whiteheads are less common than blackheads but can still cause some irritation on your dog’s face.

Pustules – pustules are red, inflamed bumps on your dog’s skin with pus at their base. They usually appear on the face or around the mouth, but they can also develop elsewhere on the body (such as behind the ears).

The appearance of your dog’s acne depends on what is causing it. For example, if your pet has food allergies or an infection in his digestive tract, he may develop small red bumps around his muzzle or neck. If he has fleas or ticks, he may have acne-like bumps all over his body due to scratching at the flea bites and ticks irritating his skin.

What is the Difference Between Acne and Pimples in Dogs?

The main difference between acne and pimples is that pimples are small bumps on your dog’s skin. These bumps are usually red or white. Depending on the severity of the case, the bumps may be filled with pus or blood.

Acne usually appears on your dog’s face, ears, neck area, and other body parts with hair follicles, such as their chest or backside. Some cases of acne can become painful due to inflammation around the affected area. This can lead to infection if left untreated for a long period, negatively impacting your pet’s health.

The most common form of acne in dogs is caused by bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. The bacteria produce enzymes that break down sebum into fatty acids and trigger inflammation.

Dog pimples are usually small (less than 1/4 inch) red bumps or whiteheads on the skin surface that can appear anywhere on the body but are more common on the dog’s face, neck and chest. These bumps are often mistaken for flea bites because they look similar to flea bites.

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Is It OK to Pop a Pimple on a Dog?

No. It is not okay to pop a pimple on your dog. Dog acne is not like human acne, do not pop it.

The reason you don’t want to pop a pimple on your dog is that dog’s skin differs slightly from humans. Their skin has little or no oil glands, which means that the oils that create our zits don’t get produced. The result of popping a pimple on your dog is either an ulcer or a hematoma (a blood blister).

If you try to pop a pimple on your dog, it can bleed and cause an infection in the surrounding area. The infection could spread to other parts of their body, even if you clean the area well afterward.

How do You Know if Your Dog Has Acne?

If your dog has acne, it’s likely to be blackheads or whiteheads. The hair around the area may also be greasy, flaky, and scabby.

Because dogs don’t have facial expressions as humans do, it can be hard to tell if they’re in pain or experiencing discomfort from their skin condition. But if you notice that your dog is constantly licking an area of his face (especially if he’s doing so more than usual), it’s a sign that your furry friend isn’t feeling well.

If your dog has acne, it’s important to take him to the vet immediately because these breakouts can cause permanent scarring and even infections if left untreated.

If you notice any of the following signs on your dog, he may have acne:

  • Small bumps around his eyes and mouth that look like whiteheads or blackheads (pimples). These bumps are often caused by bacteria and can be found on the chin, cheeks, eyelids, and lips. These may also be called milia or sebaceous cysts. They can be painful if they become infected or inflamed (inflamed milia).
  • Redness or inflammation around the spots where you’ve seen lesions appear on your dog’s body. This redness could indicate an infection in his skin.
  • Increased scratching at areas around his face or chin, especially when he’s shedding more often than usual (for example, during seasonal changes).

What are the Causes of Dog Acne?

A combination of dead skin cells and excess oily sebum can cause dog acne. Other possible causes of dog acne include:

Allergies (food or environmental)

Dogs with food allergies often have very itchy skin and hair loss on their faces and feet. Food allergies can cause inflammation in the skin, which leads to pimples that look like acne in humans. A blood test can help your veterinarian determine if your dog has an allergy-related skin problem.

Bacterial Infection, yeast, or mites (demodectic mange).

Demodectic mange is a parasitic infection that causes hair loss and lesions on affected dogs’ faces and bodies. It’s caused by a microscopic mite called Demodex mites that lives on the surface of your dog’s skin without causing any symptoms unless there are large numbers present.

When the mites reproduce, they cause a rash that looks like acne on your dog’s face and body. A doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) can diagnose demodectic mange with a skin scraping test, which involves taking a small sample of your dog’s skin and examining it under a microscope to look for mites or their eggs.


Some breeds of dogs have been found to have a genetic predisposition for oily skin and, thus, canine acne (e.g., German Shorthaired Pointers, Weimaraners, Mastiffs. Boxers, English Bulldogs, Great Danes, Rottweilers, and Doberman pinschers ). This means that you may be able to reduce your dog’s risk by not breeding him with other dogs who have been shown to have this genetic trait (or by breeding him only with dogs who have been tested for this genetic predisposition and found not to have it).


Environmental factors can also cause canine acne. For example, when dogs are stressed, or other conditions weaken their immune systems, the bacteria on their skin may grow out of control, causing pimples and blackheads.

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How Do You Treat Dog Acne at Home?

Some of the best treatments for dog acne are available at the drugstore and can be used at home. Other treatments involve seeing your veterinarian for prescription creams and other medications.

Here are some home remedies for dog acne:

1. Treat with an Antibacterial Shampoo or Wash

Antibacterial shampoos and washes can be purchased from many pet supply stores or online, and they’re usually inexpensive. These products will kill bacteria on your dog’s skin, which is important when treating acne because it promotes healthy skin growth in dogs with this condition.

2. Use Salicylic Acid Products on Your Dog’s Skin

Salicylic acid is a common chemical found in many over-the-counter acne medications that work well on human skin. It also works on dogs’ skin. Follow the directions carefully so that you don’t cause any damage to their sensitive pads!

3 . Use Benzoyl Peroxide Products on Your Dog’s Skin

Benzoyl peroxide is a strong chemical that works well as an acne treatment in humans because it kills the bacteria that cause acne. It can also be used on dogs’ skin to treat acne, but make sure to use it sparingly and follow the directions carefully so that you don’t cause any damage to their sensitive pads!

Home Remedies

Another way to treat dog acne at home is by applying warm compresses to the affected areas. You can do this by filling a small bowl with water and placing it in the microwave for a few minutes. Make sure the water isn’t too hot — you want it to be just slightly warmer than your skin temperature.

Once it’s ready, place a towel over your dog’s face and hold it there for about 15 seconds. Then dab the area with cotton balls dipped in warm water or witch hazel solution (see below). Repeat this process two or three times per day until your dog’s acne clears up completely (usually within one week).

Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal baths are an effective way to treat dog acne because they can help soothe irritated skin while also reducing inflammation. The oatmeal works as a mild exfoliant that removes dead skin cells from the surface of the coat while also helping to unclog pores to prevent further breakouts.

5 . Ask Your Vet About Prescription Medications

If all else fails, ask your veterinarian about treatment options that may work better on your dog’s skin than over-the-counter products.

In severe cases, treatment may require some form of veterinary intervention. Mild cases can be treated with oral antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication. More extreme cases may require a skin biopsy or bacterial culture to ascertain the bacteria responsible for the infection and corticosteroid injection (topical steroids) to reduce inflammation and speed up healing.

Does Coconut Oil Help With Dog Acne?

Yes, coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer for dogs. It can be applied on the coat and skin, as well as in the ears and nose.

Coconut oil has been used for centuries to treat infections in humans, so it’s no surprise that it’s a good treatment for dog acne. The antibacterial properties of coconut oil help fight the bacteria that cause inflammation and infection.

Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which has antifungal properties that can help treat yeast infections in dogs.

Is Dog Acne Contagious to Other Dogs?

Yes, it can be contagious. The main concern with dog acne is whether or not it will spread from one dog to another or from one dog breed to another. Just like humans, dogs can get acne. This can happen when the skin becomes too oily and clogged with bacteria, which causes a rash on the face and neck area.

If your dog has acne, there is no need to worry that you will catch it from them. However, if your pet’s acne worsens or doesn’t go away after some days, you should have your vet check him out just in case there is something else, like ringworm infection, other than acne.

Will Dog Acne Go Away on Its Own?

Yes and No! Not all cases of canine acne will go away on their own, but many will not.

If your dog has a case of red and swollen bumps, you should first talk with your veterinarian to get the right underlying cause. At that time, they can help identify whether your dog’s acne is caused by an underlying fungal infection or simply an irritation. If it’s the latter, then there are some steps you can take at home to help reduce the appearance of the problem.

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How Can I Prevent Dog Acne?

There are ways to reduce dog acne severity and prevent future outbreaks. Here are some tips:

Clean your dog’s muzzle, face, and skin fold regularly with a gentle cleanser designed for sensitive skin. Don’t use soap or harsh chemicals that may irritate your dog’s skin further. Once a week, apply an antibacterial treatment to help prevent future acne breakouts. Look for products containing topical benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

Feed your pet a healthy diet free of processed foods and corn syrup; these ingredients can cause skin irritation in dogs just as they do in humans! Feeding your dog canned food (as opposed to dry kibble) may also help reduce breakouts because it contains fewer preservatives than dry food. If you’re unsure what food brand might work best for your dog, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.

A healthy diet and regular grooming are just two ways you can help prevent acne in dogs. If your pet’s breakouts seem severe or if they don’t respond to treatment, talk to your vet about other treatments that may be available.